Brexit meltdown: Britain scraps coins marking Oct 31 departure from EU

The original design for a Brexit coin for 29 March
The original design for a Brexit coin for 29 March Copyright HM Treasury
Copyright HM Treasury
By Luke Hurst
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They were created to toast the UK's departure from the EU on October 31. But, amid delays, they will now be recycled.


When he became the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was adamant that he was going to “get Brexit done” by October 31.

He was so confident of achieving his goal, he made a promise to the British public that he would not ask the European Union for a Brexit extension, even when he was compelled to by law. “I’d rather be dead in a ditch,” he said.

And in a further sign that October 31 was definitely going to be the date that Britain finally left the EU, up to 10 million commemorative 50p coins marking Brexit day were reportedly being readied to enter circulation.

After a series of embarrassing defeats in parliament, Boris Johnson wrote to the EU asking for an extension past 31 October, which has now been granted.

And as for the coins that have already been minted - they are going to be shredded and recycled.

A Treasury spokesperson said “we will still produce a coin to mark our departure from the European Union”, but confirmed Brexit coins bearing the October 31 date are to be recycled.

The Treasury would not comment on how many coins had been minted, or on the cost of producing the coins, “as this is commercially sensitive information”.

Watch back: I’d rather be dead in a ditch than ask EU for Brexit extension, says Johnson

A spokesperson for The Royal Mint, which makes and distributes coins in the UK, said the coins would be melted down but said it had no further information to share.

The 50p commemorative coins were first designed for March 29, 2019, the date Britain was originally supposed to leave the European Union.

While the cost of the soon-to-be-melted coins isn’t currently being divulged, it is only some of the money that has been seemingly wasted by the UK government in its drive to get an October 31 Brexit over the line.

A ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ advertising campaign across social media, billboards and TV has now been stood down.

It was reported to have cost £100 million (€115m) - money which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has branded "£100m of misspent public money".

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